Termite protection and prevention?
Termite prevention starts with annual Visual Termite Inspection & Reports completed to AS3660 standards.
This comprises of a thorough inspection of the building and surrounding areas, gathering information and photos which are all entered into a detailed 15+ page report
A Termite Management System or termite treatment plan in the form a chemical soil treatment (using recommended products such as Ultrathor, Maxxthor, Termidor or Altriset) or an eco-friendly approach being a termite perimeter baiting program (using recommended products such as Nemesis, Exterra or Sentricon).
What are Subterranean Termites?
Subterranean termites or ‘white-ants’ as people call them are a highly destructive timber pest, causing major structural timber damage to buildings in Australia and around the world.
According to CSIRO 1 in 3 homes will be affected by termites within the life of the structure. Out of the 258 described termite species in Australia, only a handful of species are a major concern to homeowners.
Termites are small in size and are a soft bodied insect, they build a central colony nest and from this they construct underground tunnels that can span a 100 metre radius from a nest in search of a timber food source.
Once termites leave the safety of the soil the travel in mud tunnels they create to shelter them from predators and to maintain a high temperature (30+ degrees) and a very high level of humidity in their environment which they need to survive and thrive.
How do Termites eat timber?
When termites enter a house they usually eat through the centre of susceptible timbers leaving just a thin layer of timber or even just the paint. They pack mud (mud up) into holes, joints or cracks in timbers to help stop the loss of heat and humidity.
Being so small termites can squeeze through gaps as little as 2mm, this could be a crack in a slabs or joints and will eat through other materials to get to a decent timber food source.
Obviously they don’t want to be disturbed, so a lot of the time they will enter buildings through inaccessible areas such as in-fill patios, decking areas or timbers that are in contact with the house, cracks in a slab and/or concrete flooring, expansion joints, cracks in brick mortar, the list can go on.
What does a Termite nest comprise of?
In each nest there are different ‘classes’ of termites, these include the Queen, King, Alates (winged reproductive termites – future kings and queens), soldiers and workers.
The Queen is by far the largest in the nest and can produce up to 2000 eggs a day; the King and Queen live in the central chambers of the nest.
The Alates are commonly seen swarming on hot and humid evenings in the spring and summer and are leaving a full matured nest to find a mate and start their own colony.
Soldiers commonly have a darker coloured head with larger mandibles which they use to protect the nest; once a mud tunnel or nest has been disrupted they are usually the first ones there to help guard the opening.
The workers are the largest ‘class’ of termites in any nest and are the termite that does all the ‘damage’ to timbers and buildings, they are normally white colour and approx. 3-4mm long depending on the species. The workers are the ones that do all the work and feed the whole colony.
What types of Termites are in Victoria?
The species of termites that cause the most damage to buildings in Melbourne, the Yarra Valley and the Yarra Ranges areas are the usual from the Coptoterms family (Coptoterms Acinaciformis and Coptoterms frenchi)
However, the Nasutiterms Exitiosus species are also destructive to building and timber structures. Then you have the Coptoterms Lacteus and Heterotermes Ferox which usually attack damp timbers which are in contact with soil, soft and starting to decay.